Anu Malik recalls getting Pankaj Udhas to sing ‘Kitaben Bahut Si’ before Baazigar was made | Exclusive

The recent passing of the iconic Pankaj Udhas has left a void in the landscape of Indian music, stirring emotions among fans and fellow artists alike. The loss is deeply felt by music composer Anu Malik, who shared memories of working with Udhas, highlighting moments saturated with musical innovation and genuine camaraderie.

Anu Malik, in an intimate conversation with, shared insights into the thoughtful process that led to the creation of ‘Kitaben Bahut Si Padi Hogi Tumne.’ This song eventually featured in the film ‘Baazigar’ and became one of the many jewels in Bollywood’s musical crown. Malik’s tale is one of nostalgia, as he recounted how the track was crafted even before the movie was a reality, and Pankaj Udhas, along with Asha Bhosle, lent their voices to record a ghazal version of the tune.

Revisiting the past, Malik said, “I was working on an album for Venus movie before Baazigar happened. I composed ‘Kitaben Bahut Si Padi Hogi Tumne’ at a time when I had no work, no films. I approached Ratan Jain (head of Venus Movies) to give it a listen. He was impressed with the poetry. When discussing who might sing it, I suggested Pankaj Udhas, whose popularity was on the rise.”

Udhas, despite a packed schedule filled with shows and his own music compositions, showed immediate interest upon hearing Malik’s work. In a testament to his deep-rooted knowledge of ghazal poetry, Udhas recognized the lyrics penned by Zafar Gorakhpuri and lauded Malik for crafting such an appealing commercial tune out of a ghazal. The fondness he had for the composition was palpable when Malik recalled Udhas’s emotional response and the resultant embrace he received, with Udhas predicting Malik’s boundless success.

Letting his memories flow, Malik revealed undercurrents of Udhas’s character that many may not have seen. He painted the portrait of a man whose wit and humor were as ample as his talent. “He was a very witty, humorous person and he used to smile a lot,” Malik remembered. But beyond the laughter and the unassuming nature of his personality, it was Udhas’s humility and kindness that stood out. He was not constrained by the typical reservations some ghazal singers might have had; instead, he was someone who sang with passion and dedication, proud of his craft but never arrogant.

The impact Udhas made on the field of ghazal was profound and enduring, akin to a shining star that had graced the music realm. Malik, in an emotional note, highlighted how Udhas cherished his family and was deeply rooted in the values of love, simplicity, and humility.

As a tribute to a lost legend, Malik echoes the sentiments felt across the industry, summarizing that both the world of music and its many aficionados mourn the loss of Pankaj Udhas—a man who walked among giants yet remained ever so grounded, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to echo through the corridors of Indian music history.

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